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The Idle Parent: Why Less Means More When Raising Kids Paperback – 25 Mar 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (25 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141030356
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141030357
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 28,947 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

`The sort of book which any self-respecting child would wish their parents had read. Gently comedic on the surface, it is a book about serious freedom underneath. Profoundly sane, kind and endearing, it is written with a huge generosity of spirit as an act of family-liberation.' --Jay Griffiths, author of Wild: An Elemental Journey

'Wise, funny, practical and personal, The Idle Parent puts the fun back into parenting.' Oliver James -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

Review

'Wise, funny, practical and personal, The Idle Parent puts the fun back into parenting.'
-- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I agree with another reviewer here; The Idle Parent is infuriating. It has the potential to be a good read but there are far too many inconsistencies in Hodgkinson's theory. Plus, he has an awkward humour and style of writing, and his name dropping is tedious.

I agree with Hodgkinson's general principle that we should avoid over-parenting and that mindless consumerism is bad for us, however, he struggles to fill a book on this topic. As well, it seems as if he hasn't quite thought through his manifesto; he chooses which rules suit him, whenever it suits him.

Example: in one chapter where he talks at length about how 'childcare' has become outsourced, he warns against the hiring of nannies and talks about how the hiring of theirs was a terrible thing and how they became dependent on her. Yet, in another chapter he recommends hiring a nanny to make life easier, how theirs was the most wonderful thing and that she enabled them to get some sleep. There are many similar inconsistencies throughout the book.

Also infuriating are his many generalisations and silly assertions that range from the naive (all schools should aim to be more like Eton) to the absurd (the reason the examination results of his former school, Westminster - which he raves about - were better than everyone else's is due to their term time being 2 weeks shorter. Apparently, it had nothing at all to do with Westminster attracting the cream of the crop).

The chapter on No More Family Days Out is his strongest, genuinely amusing and insightful and giving us food for thought. I wish the rest of the book had been as effective as this one. The weakest chapter is Down With Schools, which comes across as smug and elitist and irrelevant. The book would have been better off without it.
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Format: Hardcover
I have not encountered such an infuriating book for a long time. I am broadly speaking a continuum concept, idle parent sort of person, but this book had me chucking it a couple of times. I know how I parent and am happy with it, so I was in no way reading it as a guide, which is just as well as this book is not aimed at people like me.

The main issue I have with this book is that its demographic is clearly ONLY the middle class professional who has plenty of money, a garden and lots of choices about how and where they live. I first chucked this book when people living on the 10th floor should get allotment space so the children can be left to potter. I live on the fourth floor - I assume that this also applies to me - but where am I going to find an allotment?! I live a mile from the City of London! And even if I could find one I wouldn't be able to afford the few quid it costs.

I chucked this book a second time when the author starts going on (at some length) about private education. Did you know that you could easily save £10,000 a year if you just cut out things that you really don't need? No? Neither did I. If I wanted to free up that kind of money - double it in fact as I have 2 kids - we would all starve and have no home - £10,000 being 90% of my annual income. In this section he also completely contradicts his idle parent hypotheses by giving as an example of a woman who really wanted to send her child to Summerhill and raised the money by working a market stall! NOT very idle!

A frankly laughable aspect of his analysis of the wisdom of private education was inferring that Eton is the epitome of autonomus education and therefore fulfils all the criteria for the free thinking anarchist or autonomous parent!
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Format: Paperback
An infuriating book. Its main idea is to leave your kids alone so they grow up independent and free. Let them get back to nature, let education follow their instincts, unplug from the grid, avoid big government and big corporations and amusement parks. However, like D. H. Lawrence, whom Hodgkinson quotes a lot, there is a strong authoritarian impulse behind all this laissez-faire - but in this case, it's authoritarianism directed at you, the reader and parent. This book has more commands in it than Deuteronomy. Drop your job. Rent a field and let your kids play. Steer clear of plastic amusement parks and all other entertainments which the aspiring, over-eager, anxious lower-middle classes contaminate with their sanitised fun. Don't play with computers. Don't camp in authorised camping sites, which are full of fat people in caravans. Don't think you'll enjoy yourself going on expensive foreign holidays, because you won't, and there'll only be tears when you return, you know. Hodkinson rails against Puritanical moulding of kids into model citizens, but there's the same nagging reformism at work in his relentless prodding of their parents, a kind of authoritarian demand that you WILL make yourself free. Why, after all, must we be taught to be idle? Surely real idleness would have been not to write the book at all, but that would have spoilt a nice little earner. This book capitalises just as surely on middle-class guilt as all the corporate-driven, over-anxious, over-involved parenting it criticises.

The Idle Parent is, however, genuinely idle in its thinking.
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3 Comments 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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